Written By: Yvonne E White
There’s nothing better than to curl up on the couch with a fury friend. Cats are excellent companions, with them no one is ever alone. If the home is devoid of one or more of these adorable roommates there are several ways to welcome them. The three main ways include purchasing from a private owner, going to a breeder or adopting from a shelter or pound. There are pros and cons to each method which shall be explored in detail.
The ads can be seen everywhere from the older classified section of the newspaper to the more updated Craigslist. People advertising kittens or cats for sale. One of the pros of selecting the new family member this way is that it tends to be more economical. Where a full-breed cat could cost hundreds depending on the breed, a private owner sale could be as much as a 90% discount. Also the sale is usually quick, a person comes over and is introduced to the animal and automatically falls in love with it. They pay the fee and leave.
There are dangers with a private owner sale especially if they come from a “kitty mill”. A kitty mill works the same as a puppy mill where animals are bred on an assembly line basis one litter after another to make more money. Not only is this dangerous to the health of the mother it also damages the health of the litter. Weaker more sickly animals are produced that are far more susceptible to disease. Another factor is the animal’s living conditions. If the animals are confined in small cages it can negatively affect their growth as well as cause behavioral problems. If this is the option chosen ask to see where the animals sleep and ask questions about siblings of the pet. Ask to meet the parents of the intended pet. If the answers do not sound logical or truthful decline the sale.
Sales from breeders
When a pure-breed kitten is wanted the best place to go is a breeder. This option requires some homework. First, know the breed well. For example what are the strengths and weaknesses of the breed, are there any known health or behavioral issues, and other relevant information. Then seek out the most qualified breeder that can be found. A qualified breeder is an experienced person with that particular breed. They should be a cat lover first then a business person last. The breeder should have as much of desire to check out the adopter to make sure the cat is going into a loving home as the would-be purchaser should be cautious of the seller. The pros are that there is much more information about the breed and the particular cat can be obtained. Plus they already work with a vet the cat will be familiar with. The cat is less likely to have behavioral issues because it has been well car!
ed for. The breeder should have references and there will be a lifetime partner to help with the health and welfare of the cat.
Be careful and do some homework before writing that check and taking the adorable ball of fur home. Some important questions to ask before meeting with them are:
- “How long have you been a breeder?” (Checks experience with breed.)
- “How many cats do you raise a year?” (Too many goes right back to the kitty mill issue)
- “Do you have a license?” (Some states require this. Check to see what states do and don’t.)
If a cat buyer is going to a breeder that usually means that a pure-bred is what is wanted. So before the interview with a breeder know the breed. There is ample material on the Internet, plus books and Cat Fancy magazine just to name a few. Ask the breeder questions about any behavior issues, known health issues if any and the strengths of the breed. The breeder should already know these answers. Check the environment the cats are living in. Ask to meet the parents of the cat that is in question. One item to check for is, are there too few workers/volunteers to manage each animal? Does the breeder know alot about the breed? It is prudent to visit more than one before making the final decision.
Rescue a cat/kitten
There are over 2.7 million reasons to adopt rather than buy a pet. That is the number of cats and dogs that are euthanized each year in the United States. There is an incorrect assumption that all shelter animals have been abused and therefore have behavioral and health issues. The fact is the majority of shelter animals have come from happy homes but are victims of circumstances due to their human owners. Issues such as divorce, death of the owner, owner has a declining financial situation, owner is moving in an area that does not accept pets or owner did not realize the responsibilities that comes with owning a cat or dog.
When the animal is brought in it is given an immediate medical screening. The cat is spayed or neutered and the vaccinations are brought up to date. If there are any issues those will be brought up before the adoption goes through. The price will be significantly lower than a breeder. When picking the right one let the animal warm up and come on its own. Spend some time with it, don’t make a snap judgment one way or the other. If there are already cats at home check with a veterinarian first before introducing the new pet to the home.
No matter which method is chosen the first item on the list is to do some homework. Also if this is the first cat remember this is a lifetime commitment. There are responsibilities to owning a pet including keeping a sharp eye on their health which includes yearly vaccinations and vet check-ups. In many communities there are low-cost vaccination clinics, a google search of the area should locate them fairly quickly. Also be prepared for the yearly license fee which should be low if the cat is spayed or neutered. With a little due diligence and time the right little friend could be waiting out there for the right home.